Wednesday, October 10, 2018

An Engineer at Heart, Soon to be an Engineer by Degree

Meet Greg Hargraves - Reynolds Engineering Student 

and “Tinkerer”

What’s a perfect storm on the International Space Station? When something breaks. And, then the tool to fix it breaks.

When that happened in 2015, it was engineers who came to the rescue. Engineers are tinkerers and makers. They are wired to use whatever materials and equipment are at hand. The engineers knew the Space Station had a 3-D printer, so being engineers, they digitally designed the needed ratchet and uplinked it to Space Station where it was manufactured (printed), right there in space. 

Reynolds Engineering student and veteran Greg Hargraves is wired that very same way. He is an engineer at heart, soon to be an engineer by degree, beginning with his studies at Reynolds. 

“I always liked figuring things out, tinkering with things. But, I never knew I wanted to be an engineer,” Greg said. The Army helped him make up his mind. “I figured it out the first year I was in Germany.” He was assigned to maintaining cameras and electronics and soon discovered that “engineering was a good fit for me.”

Greg grew up in a small town – population approximately 4,000 – west of St. Louis. Only sure of one thing: that he was ready to move on, he joined the Army. After seven years his tour was up and he and his wife (from Pennsylvania) picked Richmond as their home. Greg picked Reynolds as his school and engineering as his career.

In addition to his studies Greg is Vice President of Reynolds fledgling Robotics Club. The Club meets twice a week with five or six students regularly in attendance and a few others who float in and out. Greg noted that their projects are short term, unlike the Clubs in four-year schools, because students are only here for two years.

But that doesn’t stop the Club from sharing the stage with the big engineering guns: Virginia Tech and VCU. On the table next to Greg is the Club’s robot named “Steve” – still in the tinkering phase – which they put on display in the MakerFest held at the Science Museum. The list of MakerFest participants was a who’s who of Virginia “makers” such as VA Tech and VCU with fancy logos and glossy photos. Reynolds Robotics Club proudly added their “MakerSpace” logo printed on their 3-D printer. Go Reynolds Robotics Club – a group of true engineers up for a challenge.

From his learning, to his desire to travel to Japan and eventually Syria, Greg is all in for a challenge. Of his education he says, “I could find the answers to just about anything online. But that’s not learning. Here at Reynolds I feel like I am doing something. There is a purpose for everything I am asked to do. Everything I am learning is applicable.”

What’s next for Greg? “To get my life going,” he says. Which means for Greg to complete his studies at Reynolds then head for a transfer to VCU. It also means lots of travel, a home, children . . . but always a life full of challenges. “I’ll never be comfortable with the familiar,” says Greg.

Spoken like a true engineer.